By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The nationwide strike by bank employees in Brazil entered its thirtieth day on Tuesday, October 4th, with both sides refusing to revise their positions. The strike is the longest in the country since 2004, when bank employees went on strike for thirty days.
“Bankers have earned R$30 billion net profit in the first half is the world’s highest interest rate, overdraft checks pay an interest rate of 350 percent per year while interests on credit card can go as high as 470 percent, and they refuse to give a raise to the sector,” said Juvandia Moreira, president of the Bank Employees Union of São Paulo (SPBancarios).
According to the Confederation of Workers in the Financial Sector (Contraf-CUT) during the current strike over 13,000 branches are closed, representing 55 percent of all branches throughout Brazil.
“If they had no money, if the sector was in crisis, all right, we would agree to different negotiations, but the sector is not facing a crisis,” says Moreira. According to the official more than 8,000 people from the financial sector have been laid off since the beginning of the year.
National Federation of Banks (FEBRABAN) said in a statement that the entity submitted three proposals to the representatives of the unions. In the most recent the entity offered increase in wages of seven percent plus a R$3,500 one-time bonus and an improvement in benefits. It also promised an additional 0.5 percent wage increase in 2017.
According to the federation, the proposal “provides real increase in wages for the vast majority of banking employees.”
No new date has been set for the next round of negotiations between union and Febraban representatives.